Lisa Maric is the Owner of Distilled Beauty Bar and Social House in Calgary, Alberta.
Lisa Maric was born in Montreal in the sixties, to a working-class family. Her father was her hero and inspired her to work hard and never give up. Having her first small business shoveling walkways in the winter and mowing laws in the summer was the beginning of her entrepreneurial future. An avid athlete and curious soul, there wasn’t anything Lisa wouldn’t try, and with the support of a loving father and brother, she was always encouraged to reach new heights.
After her father moved the family to Toronto, she spent her formative teenage years working and attending school. Lisa worked as a bartender at night and attended school during the day, even spending a few years working for her father in the printing industry. Toronto was a vibrant city of full of entrepreneurs and amazing people from around the world and her experiences there have stuck with her.
In the late eighties, Lisa moved to Calgary where she met her husband and started a family. Having two high-energy boys, her days were spent keeping them busy. Sports have long been the go-to for Lisa, and her boys followed in her footsteps. A family that plays together, stays together. Once the children were school age, Lisa made the leap into the Oil and Gas service sector. She was fortunate to land a job in the Seismic industry at a time when it was booming in the province.
Lisa is a proud Albertan and believes the people in the province are built of sturdy stock and have the values she appreciated throughout her life. The booming economy and fast-paced business community allowed her to thrive and she quickly rose through the ranks.
In 2009, Lisa retired, looking to spend more time with her family and explore her passion for animals, specifically working with rescue dogs! Taking care of her four-legged friends has changed her life and expanded her heart. Her home has become a dog sanctuary and she fits as many rescue pups with special needs as her house can hold! It’s a family passion now with all “hands-on” deck when dogs are in need.
Not one to sit still, Lisa manages to still play a variety of sports and most recently added surfing to the ticket! Calgary has a dynamic river surfing community, and to relax, Lisa can be seen under the 10th Street bridge catching some waves.
Her love of Calgary and passion for traveling set the stage for another door to open, and in time Lisa’s mind started wandering and dreaming. She was impressed with the vibrancy of Calgary’s social scene, the amazing restaurants, and fun business ideas popping up all over town. Taking bits and pieces from her travels around the world, the idea and framework for Distilled beauty and Social House was born. Always a bit of a tomboy, Lisa wanted the space to be inclusive, a space for everyone. She has even found a few creative ways to incorporate her passion for animals! The patio at Distilled Beauty Bar and Social House sports a variety of treats, water bowls and a comfy dog bed for all their four-legged guests!
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you?
I love small businesses and small business owners inspire me! It takes imagination, guts and hard work to bring a vision to the public space. I have always had ideas and have even owned several small businesses when my kids were little. I know how rewarding it can be to see your ideas mature and thrive! It was also something we could do as a family. After I retired from the corporate world, I spent several years taking care of our family and daydreaming about what was next. I must have told my husband a million times I wanted a coffee shop. I loved the concept of a chic, cool shop with local products and amazing grinds. We live in the fantastic community of Marda Loop and so when I was imagining what was next, I knew it had to be in our community.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Yes, I had a lot of doubts! Distilled Beauty Bar and Social House was an idea that took on a life of its own. Ultimately, I feel like we found ourselves recreating the community Barber Shop and merging it with the local Family Diner. Both are spaces where friends and family gather, relax and connect. We had more than our fair share of battles bringing Distilled to life. We had to fight for the dream. We were the first of our kind and the road blocks from our Province and City made it quite the challenge. However, I also had a lot of support from family and friends. The process was long and at times more difficult than I could have dreamed but our community stood firm and Distilled Beauty Bar and Social House was born and for that I am immensely grateful.
How did you get your first customer?
My first customer was also my friend and designer of our space, Nam Dang Mitchell (2018 Canadian Designer of the Year!! Congrats Nam!). Her vision and support on this journey brought our space alive. It was a team effort from start to finish, even our local choice for coffee roasting, Rosso had boots on the ground helping us prepare for our Grand Opening! I am truly blessed to have such amazing friends and partners.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I believe our strategy was simple, supporting other local small businesses and focusing on our community was instrumental to our early success.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision we have had to make is whether or not to expand in a difficult political environment.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My team, they make all the difference!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I am always satisfied when I see our guests smiling and laughing! When that happens, our work is done.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
For now we are just taking it all in… I want to enjoy what we have built! Who knows what the future will bring, for now we are just enjoying the journey!
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
We recently added Laser services to our portfolio, something our clients have been requesting. One more reason to come to our social house & beauty bar, for both ladies and gents!
What is the best thing about your current job?
Working with my boys is amazing. They make me so proud!